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Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 - 1pm
LSA Building 3254

Instructor: Allison Alexy
aalexy [at]
Office: Thayer 6139
Office hours: Tuesdays, 2 to 5pm, and by appointment. Please sign up via Google Calendar.

Teaching Assistant: Kuni Hirano
hiranok [at]
Office hours: Wednesdays, 2 to 4pm, and by appointment. Please email Kuni to set up an appointment. He holds his office hours in

In the American imagination, Japan often occupies a liminal position -- it is “modern” but not “Western,” and Japanese culture might seem recognizable but also very different. This course is a general introduction to the forms and patterns of postwar Japanese culture. First engaging common American perceptions and misperceptions of Japanese people and culture, we explore major social trends including the education system, family organization, styles of intimacy, and patterns of work. Constantly challenging American images of Japanese people, we analyze shared commonalities and cross-cutting differences, ideologies and practices, tools of control and efforts at resistance. The course aims to expose students to enduring social patterns, the range of Japan’s diversity, and concepts in social theory applicable to other cultural contexts. This course is open to all students and requires no Japanese language abilities.

These gorgeous pictures were taken by Richard Atrero de Guzman, who works under the name Bahagshi. Please visit his website here. All images on these pages come from his beautiful work.